Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to track down all available information on Penn State's football team, starting with sophomore running back Curtis Enis. This will not be an easy assignment. Although Enis played in front of 94,000 people at Beaver Stadium, he was forbidden by Penn State freshman rules to speak to the media. So information is scarce on the 19-year-old who gained 955 all-purpose yards with an eye-popping 6.0 yards per carry.
This we do know: The 6'3", 230-pound back is from Union City, Ohio, and he earned the state's Mr. Football award after rushing for 2,764 yards and scoring 39 touchdowns as a senior at Mississinawa Valley High in 1993. The following year, after failing to score the NCAA-required 17 on his ACT, he attended Kiski Prep in Saltsburg, Pa.
Enis actually made four tackles as a Nittany Lions linebacker before switching to tailback, where he became the first true freshman to lead Penn State in rushing since D.J. Dozier in 1983. En route to being named the co- Big Ten freshman of the year, he drew comparisons to former Penn State running back KiJana Carter, now with the Cincinnati Bengals. After Enis gained 132 yards on 14 carries in the second half against Temple, Penn State coach Joe Paterno relaxed his rules, allowing Enis one chance to meet the media. Alas, Enis would disclose only that he had a lot to learn. So he, like most of Penn State's young and inexperienced offense this year, remains something of a mystery.
Senior quarterback Wally Richardson is a different story. He led Penn State to four fourth-quarter comebacks and capped 1995 with an Outback Bowl-record four TD passes as the Nittany Lions finished 9-3 and ranked 12th in the nation. Senior tight end Keith Olsommer is the only receiver with more than 13 catches in '95 who will be back. And 6'2", 290-pound senior center Barry Tielsch is the lone returning starter on the line—one reason why another run at the Rose Bowl may be impossible for the Lions. "I think we have to just about start over," says Paterno. "Particularly on offense."
Not so on defense, where nine starters return to a unit that finished fourth in the Big Ten against the rush (128.2 yards per game) in 1995. Joining the front line will be 6'5", 330-pound sophomore tackle Floyd Wedderburn, who missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Former walk-on Gerald Filardi is back at inside linebacker after averaging 10.2 tackles per game during his junior year. Two-time All-Big Ten senior cornerback Brian Miller, who led the team with five interceptions and the league with 19 pass breakups, is one of 10 returning lettermen in the secondary.
With that kind of talent on defense, the Nittany Lions shouldn't self-destruct in '96, even if the young offense struggles.